Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes


These cupcakes have all the rich dark chocolate flavor and the color of red velvet cupcakes without the artificial food coloring. Recently I tasted a red velvet cupcake from a local bake shop. It was very sweet and the ingredients included artificial red food coloring. I started searching for recipes that would be healthier and not contain red food dye. I found many bakers have substituted beets for red food dye in their recipes. As a dietitian I know beets are a super nutritious food. I have added carrots and zucchini to my recipes but adding beets? I admit skepticism. The result was amazing, my cupcakes were moist had a beautiful deep red color and did not taste like beets at all.  My first time roasting beets was easy but a little messy. After a few tries I found the technique that worked best for me was wearing disposable gloves when peeling and slicing the beets  and using a food processor to puree the beets.

Happy Valentine’s Day !

IMG_0767Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes


  • 3/4 cup roasted and pureed beats
  • 1 teaspoon of canola oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 ounces Ghirardelli 70% cacao bittersweet baking chocolate chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


First prepare the beets. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. You will need 2 medium or 3 small red beets trimmed of their greens leaving about 1/2 inch of the stem.  Thoroughly rinse, clean, and scrub beets under running water. Place each beet on a piece of aluminum foil and brush lightly with canola oil. Seal up foil and place beets on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about one hour. Remove beets from the oven . Open the foil and allow beets to cool completely. Use a paring knife to peel beets. Place cooled beets in the bowl of a food processor and puree to a smooth consistency.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line  cupcake pans with paper liners. This recipe makes approximately 15 cupcakes.

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together sifted flour, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl slowly melt together chocolate and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Add espresso powder and mix well.
  3. Using a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on medium high speed, beat unsalted butter, canola oil, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add maple syrup and continue to mix well.
  4. On medium speed add eggs one at a time mixing  just until yolk disappears. Add vanilla  extract and melted chocolate mixture and blend well.
  5. On slow speed of standing or hand-held mixer,  add the flour and buttermilk alternately to the batter beginning and ending with flour in 3 additions.
  6. With a spatula gradually fold in pureed beets until well blended.
  7. Fill each cup cake to 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Allow cup cakes to completely cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened at room temperature

2 tablespoons cream cheese softened at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar

In small bowl with a hand-mixer beat butter until light and creamy, add cream cheese and vanilla and continue to beat until well blended. Gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency.







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